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2006-2007 leaner Staff
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Sfrmde S8ach Gover: Sharon ^ant
JBach Gover: ^hn Xinden
S>r. c£inda Mcmeifor coordinating the
(: §teaner JCigh Sched Writing, Competition
Mr. JSarry Skniinger and
tyiger Sprinting ^oup, for their time and generosity,
Mr 9Smk &. SFex and SFex ^Bindery, Smc. for their time and generosity
The Visit to Lake Archer
Walking slowly down a winding
pathway, the sun shimmers, the wind
blowing gently through the branches. A
familiar smell of culture carries past the
senses. Leaves flowing gently to the
ground. Hearing laughter, screaming,
singing. Curiosity becomes unbearable. A
magnificent mirror lies dormant covered
by the tree's dressings. Visitors scattered
expressing their own story, reason for peer-
ing into its glory.
Passing through, a girl sits relaxing-
ly, anxiously awaiting the day's end.
Another admires age and wisdom imprint-
ed on the bark of nature's child. A best
friend searches for a perfect spot to carve
the name of the one who is always there.
Feeling as if she traveled back to the past,
bugs amuse her simple thoughts. An ant,
a beetle. ..oh no! A spider!
Leaves spiral to the ground.
Tranquility overwhelms the surroundings.
Broken by angered voices, maybe joking,
maybe not, one threatens the peace of
another. Closer to the water's edge, she
hangs onto the hand of uncertainty.
Laughing, crying, emotions flying. Hiding
them away from the world, a bush close by
becomes shelter. No judging. No mock-
ing. No more worries.
Look. There. ..underneath the glassy
surface. From the gazebo, she points. A
fish? No. maybe a shark! Cast in the line!
Where did it go? Wait. Was that it? Wait.
A fish flops about, not wanting to
leave its home. Already there, two home
bodies feel sympathy. Toss him back.
Splashing tear drops, it accepts him once
again. The ripples disrupt a train of
thought of the last visitor nearby. A griev-
ing heart entranced by the deep mysterious
water's edge. With a stick, she probes its
surface distracting her thoughts. Will a
new day arise? Will my sadness come and
go like the ripples in the water?
The mirror reflects the innermost
thoughts. So many visitors to come see its
glory, their tales told through another. It
welcomes, then says goodbye, awaiting
those of a new day.
Photo by Brandi Hennion
Photo by fiamantha Angelo
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Beyond the shadow of light,
Where photons cannot play.
Frozen fixed in still life,
Tiny sections lay.
The soft glow
Of excited electron shells,
Illuminates the secret machinery
Found only in cells.
This is about electron microscopy!
Dr. Christopher Tipping
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From the outside he is dull, dressed in monotone style.
The only color which shows is the bright* yellow of his sneakers.
And even that is dull, the bone faded by miles of walking through muddy streets.
Just him his yellow sneakers and his black ensemble.
Bui maybe, deep down he really is bright.
Maybe he Is the person which will create a cure lor cancer
Or maybe even AlDS.
But we 11 never know because we step on those different,
Squashing the heels of our own yellow sneakers into his hopes and dreams.
We won \ give him a chance because he 's not like us.
We alienate those who don X dress like vs, who fall to act and think like vs.
He looks at life differently ? he follows his own mind and path,
Even though that path causes him to become the outcast,
Who dresses in black and wears dog collars.
We don \ like him because he is not like us,
And that is exactly why his yellow sneakers will never make It
out of this dead end town.
^v Because In order to succeed you have to have support,
And he 11 never get it because he Is not like vs.
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Two Pits for the Call
A number of years ago, I went downstairs to the playroom to see what my daughter,
Casey, was doing. 1 guess she was four or five years old at the time. I found her
sitting on the floor facing a wall where six or seven of her stuffed animals were
lined up. She seemed to be talking to them and listening to their responses. I waited
for a chance to break into the conversation.
Casey finally turned and looked at me. I asked her what was going on. She said,
Tm trying to figure out who I should marry." I smiled in spite of myself because she
was so serious. I asked if she had made any decisions. Apparently, she had nar-
rowed the field down to a large rabbit and a Teddy bear. She sighed and asked me,
"How do you decide who you should marry?"
It is a tricky question for an adult. I told her she should pick someone who she loves
and who loves her back just as much. 1 told her to pick someone she likes to spend
her time with and who likes the same things she likes. To pick someone who treats
her with respect. She thought about this and then looked at me. "Then I choose you,"
This year my daughter Casey turned eighteen. I drove her up to college in New
Hampshire where she is an entering freshman. She and I took turns driving. She
makes me a little nervous when she veers in and out of traffic, but I have learned
to keep my mouth shut and not to reach for a hold oh the dashboard.
She was clearly excited. We talked about possible majors, music, her friends, her
brother... We veered in and out of topics with the same rhythms as her driving.
Whew we got to her new school there was a whole list of things to do: get an IP,
get a room key, go to the bank, find her dorm, unload the car and carry everything
up to her room. After two hours, we were done with the list. We walked back to
the Commons. Groups of students were milling about. There was loud music. There
was food, balloons, and information tables everywhere.
She turned to me and 1 could tell she wanted me to go. She hugged me and waved as
she joined in the flow and eddies of students. I started to walk
back to the car, but I kept stopping to look back to catch a
glimpse of her. I finally saw her for a moment. It was
hard for me to leave. I wasn't
worried for her safety or her
decision making ability. I looked
back at a tall, confident, femi-
nist-leaning woman with a black
belt in karate. I just didn't want to
leave the little girl who picked me
over a bunny and a pretty darn
good looking bear.
CALL YOUR PARENTS
"A Phone, A Gun, And A Conscience"
As I sit here and talk, on the phone,
Ho one knouis I'm really alone,
Maybe I have friends that I don't even Know,
But what does that mean uihen I'm ready to go,
I Know right and uirong, to tell the truth,
But I've never sat in that dark sin booth,
Before I couldn't see me doing it at all,
But noui I visualize the splatter on the wall,
I'll be your boy who cried uiolf too many times,
I'll be your dead poet who has no rhymes,
I'll destroy all of my good, sell my soul to the devil,
I uiish I could have been, up on your level,
So uihen I tell you this time, that I'm for real,
Please listen to me, 'cuz that scar uion't heal.
Emotions both wonderful and terrible
Each action taken to make them bearable
Sometimes it comes out wrong
Depending on fears that come along
Icy shards in place of comfort and trust
What should be refuge becomes unjust
To create a place of safety where all can mend
To nurture not cut those who would be friend
To understand reasons behind the fears
Is our only saving grace to dry the tears
Art by fiasha BQllaman
^rtomneit/ lie*// in/ /wicfa.
Art by Lauren Wright
Photo by Lindsay Cropper
It's on the wind...
The rumblings in the deep are getting louder
A distant crack, the thunder is warning us
The pounding of the rain
It's getting darker
It's in our minds...
Everyone knows it, everyone senses our demise
The gates of hell will open soon
Fear and terror grip our souls
The fire will consume us
It's in our eyes...
The ground splits open and quakes beneath us
Smoke fills the skies as hundreds die
I cannot hear you scream over
The screaming of the world
The end is here
The sun gone down
Its rays burned out
Beyond the rolling seas.
Gives birth to night
The darkness deep
And those in dreams asleep.
One by one they flutter forth
To invade a lonesome place
Until at once they light the night
A single color - in eternal space.
Flipping here and twirling there
Shadows retreat in fear
As flames of green and gold increase
And patterns arise so clear.
The moon goes dull
The stars seem bleak
Power lost in mystery.
As curious notes
Engulfed by breeze
Begin to form a melody.
The flames reign forth, their spell complete
The trees hang back with fright
As glitter flickers here and there
Such a mesmerizing sight.
With power and grace - the night wears on
A timeless piece of summer's grace
For all time the vision's true
Light in a darkened place.
But the spell wears thin
The flickers lose rhyme
The magic leaves the sky.
Until the night
When darkness reigns
'Twill be no dancing fireflies.
'Tunny, the things you remember, and the things you don't"-All About Eve
I don't remember your name. If someone said Patrick, I wouldn't argue, but I wouldn't
swear to it either. I don't remember your face. If you were to sit next to me on a bus or a
plane, I wouldn't recognize you. Depending on my mood, I might strike up a conversation,
but more than likely we would sit in silence, separating once we reached our respective
destinations. How could I have forgotten the most important details? I just have, and that's
A group of us were going to D.C. to meet up with some people we knew. The
details remain sketchy. (Somehow, I wound up riding in the back of your VW bug with you
and your girlfriend. Maybe you remember the car? I remember her name.
I knew about you, of course. Your girlfriend was in my dorm, in a room right around
the corner from mine. Just an acquaintance, really. I had spent some time there, and had
heard a lot about you, so even though we had never met, you weren't a stranger to me.
Odd, that false sense of intimacy: so real, so one-sided.
Today, the two of you were having an argument, with the usual ebb and flow that
most arguments have. I can still feel my discomfort; I was a voyeur missing the thrill of being
caught. My only refuge was to lose myself in the music coming from the eight-track tape play-
er. The same Bee Gees album: first one side, then the other, over and over. I could hear
the "click" of the switch from side to side. Before long, I stopped noticing the sound; I
knew what was coming.
In spite of the repetition, or maybe because of it, I found myself waiting for one par-
ticular song. Each time it came on, I sang along quietly; it helped a little. But the argument
kept going and going, just like the tape. Same themes, same recriminations, same songs: such
Finally, during a brief lull in the action, she screamed at you to change the music. 1 saw
your eyes in the rear view mirror. You told her that I was enjoying the music. I knew that
wasn't the reason you refused her, but I didn't care. Suddenly, I had become a participant,
a co-conspirator. I smiled. Take that, I thought. You're being such a bitch, so unreasonable.
He hasn't done anything wrong, what the hell is the matter with you. . .
It was a relief to arrive at our destination. I met up with my friends, and later we went
out to a club. When we arrived, you were there; she was nowhere to be seen. I can still
see an outline of you: a beer in one hand, cigarette in the other, your hair plastered to
your forehead like a drowning man. You asked me to dance, once, twice, again and again.
"You look great; you dance so well." I believed you; I had to. We had bonded, found com-
mon ground. She no longer mattered.
You asked me to leave the club with you, and I went. Afterwards, you walked me back
to the house where I was staying. It was so late. I was so happy; you seemed to be. You'd
call tomorrow; I'd wait for it. Whose house was it, I wonder?
My friends had seen me leave with you. They wanted all the gory, glorious details-, I
did my best to provide them over all the chatter. So many voices at once, like overlapping
signals on a car radio. Finally, it was decided that you deserved better, and apparently I fit
the bill. Gradually, one by one, we fell asleep.
I never heard from you again. The two of you reunited briefly, and then went your
separate ways. It was college, after all. A long time ago. And yet, in some respects, not long
Are our memories one-sided as well? Are they a highlight for one, less than a foot-
note for the other? I really can't say.
I still listen to the song. It is a magic spell, and I am the conjurer of things long forgotten by
some, but not by all.
Barbara Murphy Grimes
As the last raus of the brightness from the sun fia.de,,
The v-iu-id strea£s of blaze oranae andmaaenta start to haze and dim.
A blan£et 0/ lush areen arass dar£ens,
A blue-blac£ carpet 0/ o-elo-et slowly creeps from wit/tin the shadows to ta£e its peace.
The twin£lina stars in the blac£ened s£y areaently wrapped in pouzy wisps of clouds and blotted out.
The froas by the pond beain to serenade the cric£ets that hao-e been playina a loo-ely tranquil tune, since dus£.
A aire steps oat from the shelter of her house.
Tier s£in, li£e a moonbeam, is pace and smooth
Her wild ' loc£s are ev-er changing' in the shadows; aold, crimson, honey, cinnamon, li£e a fire dancing in a storm.
Dari,, thic£, smudaed 'clouds beain to fill the s£u and chase the moon away
Thunder rumbles andcrac£s.
Ciahtnina dances to and fro.
Down into the o-elo-et carpet it crashes.
The carpet flares with the colors of the rainbow, and then ale is dar£.
A tendr/fof smo£e issues forth a wea£ hiss as it is slowlu absorbed bw the nfht s£u.
The s£y cries, areat tears of rain drops pour from the bursting clouds.
The airls filmy aown becomes plastered to her body as if its a second s£in.
Drops of liauid crastal slide down her hair and oo-er her face.
The drops continue down the white s£in of her nec£ and into the bodice of her dress, sliding lazi'la between her
breasts and down alona her ribs and oo-er her bella.
Down oo-er her flared hips and alona the length of her sil£en thiah it trao-els.
Down the contours of her slender calf and around her delicate an£le itaoes, toaently slide off of her toe into the blac£ carpet it poes.
plow does the wind, its fury un£nown.
Li£e a Jealous loo-er, its austs pic£ up and whip about the aire.
The clouds respond, li£e a waterfall, torrents of rain pour fourth, unleashed.
Theairlis crushed, forced into the around, li£e a flower beina trampled.
The aallant moon pushes forth from its prison behind the clouds.
The clouds are wea£ened and slide awau into the nifht with fear.
The wind dies down and minds its manners,
A niahtinaale calls from the far side oftheaarden.
The cric£ets respond and once aaain, beain their loo-ely tune.
p/loonliaht aentlw shines down upon the airl
She awa£es hunary and cold.
A youna man calls from the aarden s edae .
A slow sensual smile plaus across her lips.
The wouna man wal£s oo-er to her to offer his assistance.
She accepts his offer.
As he bends to lift her from the around, two slender, white daaaers extend ' beu-ond 'her par net lips.
She laus her head in the cradle of his shoulder andaentlu, brea£s the s£in.
A softaasp escapes his lips as she slowlu, suc£s out his life.
when her bellu, is full she delicately wipes her mouth with his £erchief
She stretches slowly as she stands and winds her way bac£ to tke little house.
The moon shines full upon her path and the froas haw retained the serenade as she ma£es her way bac£ inside.
By /Cat nara
Whenever we have moved from one state to another, which has been often, we
always need to re-establish our basic support systems: find the best grocery store,
locate an honest mechanic, see about a good doctor just in case, and find someone who
can cut your hair and not leave you looking like one of the extras from Road Warrior.
Having moved to West Virginia, this latter need was particularly difficult to satisfy. I
generalize, of course, but most women around here like to sport do's that seem to be
fashioned after their favorite country music star's hair, and as far as I can tell, the
men really don't go in for getting their hair cut at all. It's just tied back and that's
good enough. So, we had some trial and error - more like trial and terror - before we
were recommended to Kenna in Oak Hill, now about f orth-f ive minutes from where we
live. Still, it's worth it, in all kinds of ways.
Henna's place is a concrete-block affair at the bottom of a hill in what could only
be described as a less-than-savory part of town. On the wall outside is a stylized eye,
painted in red, with a wisp of hair above it and the words Hair by Kenna. Henna's
establishment is probably best likened to Floyd's barber shop from the Andy Griffith
Show, at least in terms of its general function and atmosphere. It is a place where the
regulars gather to chat, maybe get their hair done, and often just to rest their feet. At
any given time there will be someone in the chair and quite a few others just sitting
around, exchanging the news with Kenna. Henna's place is always full, and Kenna is
always cutting hair, but there are usually more people than not who have just come to
Kenna herself is an interesting woman to both see and listen to. She has a shock
of red hair which she sports as an Iroquois-style top-knot. Those who get their hair
done by her do not seem to be at all dismayed by this. It is simply understood that
that's the way Kenna likes her hair: up and out of her way so she can get down to busi-
ness. Kenna explains her name to us on our first visit: She comes from a family of sev-
eral siblings and her father had longed for a boy so that he could impart to him his
favorite name: Kenneth. However, mother and father agreed that their next child
would be their last, and so when Kenna came along, father, despairing of ever being
able to impart his favorite name, decided to compromise with Kenna. "It was either
then or nuthin'", Kenna says with a laugh.
Kenna has no reservations telling us about her personal life, particularly when
she learns we have recently relocated and so are, to her way of thinking, traveled per-
sons like herself. This is an important connection for our first conversation, because
traveling is not something that most West Virginians do, and so Kenna has found an
understanding audience at last. Kenna relates that upon graduation from high school
she ran away form home to North Carolina and joined the army: "Just fed up with
thangs, y' know?" She then did a tour in Germany which she thought was wonderful.
It was terribly exotic and different. It was just what she had hoped for. Kenna was in
charge of testing gas masks and biological-weapon suits. She passes along the story of
the time when they were testing one suit in a 'hot' environment and it didn't work.
Her colleague was gassed pretty effectively. "It was not a purty sight," she opines.
"Stuff was comin' purtty much outta every or'fice! Ugh!" When her tour was finished
she considered re-upping, but thought that it was maybe time to get back to the States
again. When she got back she realized that she really had no plans or any sense of
what she wanted to do or where she wanted to be. As a result, she took what money
she had and just bought a bunch of bus tickets" "Didn't matter where, Honey. I jist
wanted to see thangs, y'know? So off I went. Went all over the place. It was plumb
After traveling for a while, she decided she wanted to come back home and start
up a beautician's place and get married, and that's just what she did. The marriage
didn't go on very long, or so we gather, but Kenna's place is doing quite well.
Kenna is our hair -cutter. At least, that's the way we think of her. Surely she
would not consider herself a Barber or even a Stylist. "Beautician" is the word she
prefers, but I think she only uses it because she says it rhymes with "magician."
We were at Kenna's place the last Thursday before Christmas. When we arrived
some of the regulars were there. Drema sat over by the cash register, Detra and her
daughter were also there, and two other older women that I didn't recognize. Julie and
I took some piles of magazines off a couple of chairs and sat down to wait. In the cor-
ner Kenna has a Christmas tree, decorated with various plastic curlers and wisps of
garishly colored wig snippings. It's interesting, and I say so. Drema says it's "right
purrty, now you mention it." Kenna gives one of her patented snorts and snips away
at the elderly lady in the chair. In a short while another lady comes in and Kenna asks
if she's wanting an appointment. However, the lady says she's just looking for a local
doctor and wants directions. Upon learning who it is that she's looking for, Kenna puts
down her scissors and puts an arm around the stranger and directs her out the door so
she can point out which direction the woman should take. Kenna says: "And it's close,
too. Why, Honey, you're so close you can smell his feet." Thus assured, the stranger
The conversation takes up with Drema's recent run-in with the law. Drema is
40ish or so, clearly weighs in at roughly 250 pounds, and is not someone you'd like to
mess with if you know what's good for you. Drema starts off the story by relating her
troubles with her daughter's "nervous ailment." This involves some sort of serious
sneezing fit whenever she is under duress. "And it is jist awful," Drema laments.
"When she gets a-goin' then the snot is simply flyin' everywhere. It's on the walls and
her toys and everything." Julie and I are trying not to laugh. Drema might not under-
stand that we find this funny. Drema goes on to explain how she recently ended up in
the county lock-up. "Wall, that stoopid prince'pal down at the school, he calls my girl a
liar. With me jist sittin' there in front of him." Kenna snickers at this. Clearly this is
not a good thing to do. "Wall, I told him to apologize and he says he ain't apologizing to
no liar. That's when I grabbed his tie and yanked, and right across that desk he come.
I drug him all the way to the parkin' lot. Course, later I had to call my ol' man to come
get my daughter, 'cause they are a-takin' me to jail!" She gives a big laugh to this, and
then shakes her head a bit. "Hunnert hours of community service. Huh." Her daugh-
ter is apparently doing better now that she is on medication. "Is that some sort of psy-
chotic drug?" Kenna asks. "Don't know, " Drema says. "I jist give it to her twice a
The phone rings then and Kenna picks it up. She is talking to someone who clear-
ly has a mutual friend. "Well," Kenna says into the phone, "Wandalena was f eelin'
purrty under the weather, but she checked herself outta the hospital nevertheless."
Julie and I exchange glances across the room. "Wandalena?" Julie mouths. Julie
clasps a hand over her mouth and I try to take deep breaths and not meet her eyes.
The conversation continues: "Well, Wandalena was supposed to go over to Mary
Canterbury's tonight." Julie is now squinting and gets up and heads to the bathroom. I
am gasping and trying hard to read a sentence from Esquire. Julie comes back later
and will not look at me. If she does, I am sure she will bust out laughing. Drema might
take offense at this.
Thankfully someone else comes in at this moment. It's Jack. Given the naming
traditions in West Virginia, I am relieved to find out that Jack is really Jackie. She is a
stout, gray-haired lady who has come in to buy cigarette lighters from Kenna as stock-
ing-stuff ers. She sports a sweatshirt with "Army" on the front and is one of those peo-
ple who obviously has lots of energy. "Even if ya don't smoke," she says, "ya oughtta
always have a lighter on hand. Never know when ya wanna get somethin' hot." She
laughs and so does everyone else. Clearly this is an inside joke we're not aware of.
Jack relates an off -color joke then. When the laughter subsides she turns to me and
says "Sorry sir, but that's what you get for hangin' out in a beauty parlor." Jack gets
her lighters and takes a seat. It's getting cold outside.
It's my turn finally and Kenna gets me in the chair. She, like all other hair-cut-
ters I've ever known, has a large mirror in front of the chair. However, she never faces
any of her customers so that they might actually watch what's going on as their hair is
being cut. I guess this is the result of Kenna's need to face her audience while talking,
and this is of course going on ceaselessly.
For me, the disadvantage of this is not that I can't see what's going on, but rather
because I am now facing Detra and her daughter across the small room. Detra's daugh-
ter, whose name I've never caught, is about 30ish and is very well dressed. In fact, she
may be the best-dressed person I've ever seen in Oak Hill. However, it is distressing to
be facing her because her eyes go in two different directions, and when she talks,
which is rare, you can't tell if she's talking to you or someone else. The fact that she
doesn't talk is probably a good thing. Julie says she reminds her of Billy Bob
Thornton's role in Sling Blade. Sad, but true.
It is near the Holidays, and so the conversation turns to gift-giving. Kenna asks
Jack if she'll get her a man for Christmas. "Any sort at all will do," Kenna says.
"Long's he got arms and legs and the other parts I'm okay with him." This mention of
a man brings Detra back to life, who relates the story of a recent encounter with a
strange man in the woods by her place. This is pretty scary stuff, but thankfully noth-
ing came of it. Kenna, however, says "Man, I'd be out wanderin' in them woods tryin'
to get raped if it were me!"
Then the talk moves on to Drema's account of her second husband giving her a
pressure cooker for Christmas. "And what the hell am I gonna do with that thang?
God knows I'd blow the house down with it!" Detra concurs, and in a small voice says
"That's just what happened with me, with a mess of beans. They went everywhere."
This, in turn, reminds Kenna of another Christmas cooking fiasco. She tells how her
one-time husband was from Pennsylvania and that "Them Pennsylvanians is crazy for
chestnuts. He was after me about it for weeks, so damn if I didn't go get some and
make 'em. So, there they was, in the oven, and we was in the front room. Then I hear a
loud 'pop!' I come out and open the oven and it's like Viet Nahm in there! Chestnuts
were just explodin' like crazy. I ducked and one went and bust out the light bulb," she
whoops. 'Shrapnel is flyin' all over the place, and that husband of mine is so mad
'cause now he can't have his chestnuts. He's mad at me for hours. Then, later, he
starts laughin'. He says 'Now I remember, you're supposed to put a cut in the shells to
let the steam out!"
My hair is done and it's Julie's turn.
Dr. Gregg A. Smith
MY NAME IS STEVE . . . AND I AM fl PILER. ANY PLOT SUR-
FACE SOLID ENOUGH TO WITHSTAND A GRAVITATIONAL LOAD IS
LIKELY TO BECOME BURIED WITH PAPERS, LETTERS, MAGAZINES,
AND BOOKS. MY DESKTOP IS ABLE TO SYMPATHIZE WITH THE
BLIND CRICKETS OF MAMMOTH CAVE WHO NEVER SEE THE SUN.
A TABLE, A CHAIR, A TV TABLE ARE AT RISK OF BEING
ENGULFED BY MY LIFE'S FLATWARE.
IN MY DEFENSE, I WISH TO POINT OUT TO YOU, GOOD READ-
ER, THAT WHAT APPEARS TO AN UNINFORMED BY-STANDER TO
BE A CHAOTIC MESS ON MY DESK IS, IN FACT, AN ACHAOTIC
MESS. WHILE CHAOS MAY BE DEFINED AS "LACK OF ORDER", I
WOULD DESCRIBE MY MESS AS A LACK OF COMPLETE DISORDER.
UNDER AND WITHIN THE PILES, I KNOW, IN SURPRISING DETAIL,
THE LOCATION AND CHARACTER OF THEIR CONTENTS. A BRIEF
DESCRIPTION OF MY DESK MIGHT HELP YOU TO ENVISION THIS.
IN THE UPPER LEFT CORNER IS A PILE OF OLD PAPERS THAT
HAVE BEEN WAITING TO BE PROPERLY FILED IN MY CABINET.
KEEP WAITING, FRIENDS. IT IS ABOUT 12 INCHES DEEP. I
AFFECTIONATELY REFER TO IT AS PILE A. TWO SLIPPERY MAGA-
ZINES HAVE CAUSED PILE B TO TILT AND LEAN AGAINST ITS
NEIGHBOR, PILE C, FORMING A KIND OF BRIDGE THAT SUPPORTS
A KIND OF HYBRID PILE, CAREFULLY BALANCED, THAT IS BOTH B
AND C. TOGETHER, THE TRIO HAS THE APPEARANCE OF AN UP-
SIDE DOWN Y OR GOAL POST. THE URGENCY OF READING THESE
MAGAZINES IS ONLY SLIGHTLY GREATER THAN MY URGENCY IN
FILING THE CONTENTS OF PILE A. NOW, PILE D DESERVES SOME
SPECIAL ATTENTION. IT CONTAINS TIME-SENSITIVE PAPERS,
FORMS, MEMOS AND THE LIKE. THE ITEM AT THE BOTTOM OF
THIS PILE HAS BEEN THERE SINCE THE END OF THE LAST FIS-
CAL YEAR. SO MUCH FOR TIME-SENSITIVITY. I STATED THAT I
KNOW EACH PILE'S CONTENTS; I HAVE NOT CLAIMED TO ACT ON
THEIR DEMANDS. PLEASE DON'T TELL MY SUPERVISORS ABOUT
YOU, PATIENT READER, ARE, NO DOUBT, MORE ORDERLY
THAN I AM. MOST PEOPLE ARE. I ONCE SHARED AN OFFICE
WITH A WOMAN WHO WAS SO ORDERLY, SO NEAT, SO EFFICIENT,
SO DISCIPLINED, THAT MY 3EALOUSY WAS SECONDED ONLY BY
MY AWE. AT THE END OF EACH DAY, THE ONLY ITEMS ON HER
DESK WERE A DICTIONARY (IT WAS CONTAINED BY TWO BOOK-
ENDS) AND A BOX OF TISSUES. HER LAST ACT EVERY FRIORY
WAS TO WIPE HER DESK TOP WITH LEMON PLEDGE. I REMEMBER
AN OCCASION IN WHICH SHE ALLOWED A NOTEBOOK TO CLUTTER
HER DESK FOR A FULL TWO DAYS. I LATER LEARNED THAT
SHE HAD BEEN SUFFERING FROM THE FLU AND WAS "NOT HER-
SELF". I FORGAVE HER FOR HER TRESPASSES. IF SHE HAD-
N'T BEEN SO FRIENDLY, SMART, EFFICIENT, AND PRETTY, I AM
SORRY TO ADMIT THAT I THINK I WOULD HAVE ALLOWED
MYSELF TO HATE HER.
PEOPLE OF MY ILK ARE A STIGMATIZED MINORITY IN OUR
SOCIETY. WE ARE CONTINUALLY BURDENED WITH THE NEED TO
KEEP OUR SECRET HIDDEN AND CLOSETED. HOWEVER, OUR
CLOSETS ARE SO CLUTTERED, THERE IS NO ROOM FOR US
THERE. SO, WE BECOME OUTED BY OWN MESSES. SOME OF US
REMAIN ALOOF TO THE GREATER SOCIETY IN THE HOPE OF
AVOIDING THE CRITICAL STARES, SHAKING HEADS, AND GOSSIP
OF OUR COLLEAGUES AND FAMILIES. SOME OF THE BRAVE
AMONG US HAVE DETERMINED THAT THEY ARE WHAT THEY ARE
AND GOD STILL LOVES THEM. THEY KNOW THAT THE SUM OF
THEIR CHARACTER MAKES THEM MORE THAN MERE PILERS.
THEY WALK IN THE WORLD WITHOUT SHAME OR APOLOGY. THEY
MERELY WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE BY BIGOTS AND POLITICIANS.
A FEW OF US SHOW UP ON THE 3ERRY SPRINGER SHOW.
I NO LONGER CARRY THE FEELINGS OF GUILT THAT
SOCIETY WOULD LIKE TO PILE ON ME. SOME "EXPERTS" SAY
THAT THE PENCHANT FOR PILING IS LEARNED AND THAT PILERS
CHOOSE TO BE THAT WAY. RECENT BRAIN RESEARCH, HOWEVER,
HAS INDICATED THAT BEING A PILER IS DUE TO GENETICS. AS
FOR ME, I KNOW I INHERITED THIS BEHAVIOR FROM MY FATHER.
HE INHERITED IT FROM HIS MOTHER WHO, FAMILY LORE HAS
INFORMED ME, INHERITED IT FROM HER MOTHER. FROM THERE
THE TRAIL GOES COLD. I DO NOT KNOW THE LOCATION OF THE
HEADWATERS OF THIS GENETIC DISPOSITION IN MY FAMILY. BUT,
SIMPLY KNOWING THAT THIS CHARACTER IS NOT MY FAULT IS
QUITE COMFORTING. I DECLARE TO YOU, GOD MADE ME THIS
WAY. MARK TWAIN ASKED, "WHY DO WE CONDEMN THE CAT, WHO
WAS DESIGNED BY ITS CREATOR TO BE SO CRUEL TO ITS PREY?
DOESN'T SUCH CONDEMNATION CRITICIZE THE GREAT ARCHITECT
ITSELF?" THIS IS PARAPHRASING TWAIN, OF COURSE. I WOULD
LIKE TO QUOTE HIM VERBATIM, BUT MY COPY OF AMERICAN
HUMORISTS IS NEAR THE BOTTOM OF PILE E. AND I DON'T
FEEL LIKE DISTURBING IT RIGHT NOW.
OR. STEVE DEBROUX
WhrO£V£R. 5All> JUNE, 3ULY, AN> AU6-U5T AR-£ "THR.££ 6-00>
R.EA50N5 FOR. "TEACHING-?
"you're not making ii.COOO.00 a year yet are ycu?" asked, my mom en one of our many trips to Oregon. "Mom, I'm making more tnan fnat; I'm a
college professor," and I told her the salary figure. It was ever $2.0,000. Compared with her $H,5CC-$5£C0 maximum as an elementary school
teacher in "The l<?50's and £C's mine seemed like a king's ransom!
why did I choose to become a teacher? Probably because our mother was a teacner, not only of four boys and of the Junior Boys class in 5andy
Community Church 5unday 5chcol, but also an elementary school teacher at four different schools in Nebraska and Oregon. Fur+nermcre, Atom's
brother, Uncle £verett and his wife, Aunt Anne, were also elementary school teachers in rural Idaho. These were my early mentors. Later, my first
^rade teacher in 5andy [Oregon] elementary school, Mrs. R-uth Mitchell, the eighth jjrade one, Mr. Lane-who at age <76 recently attended cur 5<Jtti
high school reunion in Orcgcn-and my high school English and French teacher, Mrs. £dith Jemtegaard, whom I adored even though she was tough, were
further sources of inspiration to me. It was she who encouraged me enough in French to win the Prix d'ttonneur award. They were always professional-
ly arcamed, used excellent grammar, knew each of us students by first and last names, and even allowed room mofners to bring in special treats for
us from time to time. And their standards for excellence were high and _gained cur respect.
One graduate professor stands out for his teaching technique: >r. Timothy Lin, who used to tell me, "Ziemer, you never write a aped, first draft but
you always benefit by re-wnting." It takes me a while to _get it right and to "(Jit 'r done."
I used to think that I'd be at Delaware Valley College for three to five years because when my wife and 1 first mamed we lived in Pcylestown
and New Britain during cur honeymoon years. Glancing back now at forty years at Delaware Valley College I can verify Job's utterance, "Cur years
pass by sw'ftcr than a weaver's shuttle" or 5t. James's, "Our life is a vapor."
t>r. Arthur Brown, whom I replaced in teaching Philosophy ojnd 5oaolqgy at T>VC, sat next to me on a bench in front of Allman Building on tne day of
my interview, May 1166. When I questioned him about the uncertainty of how effective I'd be teaching at an agrajjiural college, he replied, "You'll
do just fine." I tried.
One of the first issues was scheduling office hours for the students and classes and an encouragement to jjet "broken in" by teaching Summer 5chod
first. Another was meeting the stem J>r. work, then the president and its fearless leader. 5alary negotiation netted me $7,000.00 tnat first year
in i<766-67, and Pr. work said if I did a aped job, I'd _get a *500 raise the next year, when that time came, the dean called me into his office
to have me sign the contract for the following year. I _gazed in dismay at the $2.50.00 raise and told him so. We said there was nothing he could
do about it but that I was welcomed to speak with T>r. work, when I confronted I>r. work with my diary in which I had written $500 for dory a
_gocdjob, he replied, "I>id I say that?"
"Yes, that's what I wrote; did I do a^oodjob?" Affirmative reply.
"Give me that @**! Paper." H-e crossed out the $2.50, replacing it with *500 and said, "Take that to the <?*!* dean." I was stunned not only
by his profanity but also that salary was so easy to negotiate and gained jjreat respect fa the second founder of >VC— the founder of the H-year
Collcge, even though his vocabulary mirrored that of my lumberjack Oregonian ancestors.
It is said we remember the very apod, and the very bad students. I can't say which it is for me, but teaching has _given me the decade c\rvro-cc
that my mother enjoyed times four. Upon visiting classmates, relatives, or friends in Oregon, I usually meet someone who says, "Your mother was my
3rd or Hth afo.de teacher way back when." Ker legacy lives on in their memories, and her mentorship validates why I chose teaching.
The traditoral apple fa me, a teacher, has included sacks of potatoes, duck eggs, fresh hase radish, mushrooms, produce, pscs, venison, maple syrup,
scaes of cards at Christmas, Valentine's Pay, birthdays, and yes, even Father's t>ay.
during the intervening years of my own years in the classroom I've been the recipient of so much kindness that 1 feel I owe everybody I know-T,\i-
John >cnne a Milton was right in saying, "I'm a part of all I've met."
X>r. R.ichard C. ZiCmer, Prcficssa of Liberal Arts
QC^ Ieaacu left tow owf- ohudwen
Q% it law to- haw tm& utcwtd on?
Q/Vol neawtu as intended
Qsne natural ivoida 'in snawuHeti
(pn iwronmcnts faaved ovew-
OQt- aiasteland 'ftemcdns
Qsn the name of/twoayyedS
Q9% Ieaacu is left pirn ouv- chudwn
y&nice id- sm/otna
Qsicaa is ta^ncna
OJ/ie (xymoti awe dwotdwna
QJ Ae keo/ite awe d / m / na,
Qsn the name ofhwoaveSS
Q&& Ieaacu left low ouw oAudven
(pacA aewiewatiowi teases a leaac-u
CpacA id a tittte aee/iev, a little aawlcew
Q&1 lowmiaalle Ieaacu tAat nevew tmlvrov&s
Qjinlclvia dee/^ew uwvtil we awe no mowe
1 '1 '-28-04
Photo bu Danielle Friedrieh
Unere !s d ust on a pair of wedding rinas,
ylnd tne engagement ring no longer gleams ,
Witn a fierg love wnicn Anows no rear.
Ujecause tneg can sense in tneir metal tnat divorce is near.
cjo wng would tneg snine and deliver a lie,
loJnen there is no longer a lovers ' light in tneir wearers ' ege?
cSo theg^tt tarnisn tneir color ) tneg don V care anymore.
UAieg will never again be united; tneg 7/ oe tnrown in a drawer.
forgotten sgmools of gestergear tneg will lie in the darA — alone.
Cfind what t£eg once stood for will lie in Slackness — unAnown.
Photo by Lindsay Croppor
v^ejf^oes it bo Tpe g^owiXg
When, just when does my grape
jrfrbor grow - does anyone
t)oes anyone know
t)oes anyone - can anyone
See not me.
Tens, hundreds of new shiny
Xgaves - of new bright leaves
Scores of twining stringy swinging
Vines - canes anew sprout clusters
Of concord grapes -fonn - then
Grow - does anyone know
Can anyone see.
Jrom^lpril to July - some sixty
t)ays or so....yet I see not
I see nothing of their growing.
That grapevine of mine remains
^ mystery. J\fo th ing of their
Growing do I see.
Jiot a leaf- not a sprout - not
^1 cane can I see grow.
Jiothing of their growing can I
Watch - only their lush lush
^[fter-gi-owth do I spot.
Valour Thus Honour
When such a thing will come at last,
Night shall render weak and come to pass.
And through such shimmering armor will retreat,
That which once was thought lost in defeat.
No shield - no sail of boat be strong
Enough to hold this storm for long.
Powers beyond have issued as such
And all must accept this will by touch.
The valiant and true shall no longer disdain,
For they have won their highest such fame.
His truth and soul have shown to all
He sacrificed love to honor - letting it befall.
And he went forging all power forth,
Knowing for you only endless love and worth.
Watching in fields as darkness ensued
Holding to his hope's last lingering truth.
Thus behold the Sun gleaming beyond!
Masking the stars of which maidens are fond.
Also see that Nature revives,
Creating beauty to which men could only strive.
And now he sits so exalted in love,
King of Truth honored from above.
For he has restored this land to a rightful path,
Thus being awarded love only he could have....
Art by Megan Wasniewski
Jffe/u? ffwmwa j far,
-/Ae dfte?eede fa /ze/zzseaj sifa/zf ua/t
<%76>a mamt'/m earm,
-JAe ce?eft/e efteerfmaffere/ee/me /fefatt
^ez/e eft Jeez,
^ez/e eft ezceezzi,
fflez/e eft rizzenf,
^/eft/auftu/cMe/ezi ezftez e/eze'e?ezJ ec
-J/ieJ left; ed/eejt for pen.
3/3/05 J7%fea ^e/ZeezmJ
This life is but a lie in truth in hiding. Each day
passes by and wishes of change shows in eye.
Waiting for the day when this monster will be
put to rest. Misery and destruction will be its
final test. All my first days spent without care
or concern. Living behind a lie plotted for me
to learn. Till my last days of immaturity. My last
DAYS OF INSECURITY. My BEGINNINGS TO MY END. THE
BEGINNINGS TO MY DESTINY TO SPEND. ETERNITY OF
LIFE WITH A HOLE IN MY HEART. A BLEEDING PIECE OF
ART. YOU SHOT ME MANY A TIME IN HEART AND SOUL.
A SCAR THAT WILL STAY WITH ME TILL I'm OLD. I DONT
KNOW YOU ANYMORE. A STRANGER IN THE MORGUE.
This shift in you caused such an imbalance. A
WORKER BEE CAUGHT IN A TRANCE. Set ON RICHES TO
CURE LIFES PROPER OBSTACLES. BURNING FOND FAMIL-
IAR MEMORIES UPON YOUR SECRET MANTLE. YOURE
GOING DOWN HILL AND YOURE TAKING US WITH YOU.
TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH I STILL LOVE YOU. BUT NOW
KNOWING THE GoD GIVEN TRUTH. It's HARD TO SEE
WHAT YOUVE BECOME AND LIKE YOU. EVERY DAY WAS
THOUGHT THAT YOU WERE FATHER BuT INSTEAD I
FOUND MYSELF THE EXPERIMENTAL PET RATHER THAN
YOUR LOVING AND ONLY DAUGHTER
To Be Continued...
Photo by Sue Graf
I'M AFRAID MY LOVE HAS NO MORE LOVE FOR ME
ALL SHE NEEDS IS TIME
TIME TO THINK ABOUT IF IT'S TRUE AND WILL BE
NO MATTER THE PART OF DAY SHE'S ON MY MIND
I FEEL WEAK BECAUSE ALL I WANT TO DO IS BREAK DOWN
IT HELPS BUT KILLS
MY LOVE IS STRONG FOR BOTH OF US IF SHE'D JUST COME AROUND
BUT IT SEEMS SHE DOESN'T CARE HOW I FEEL
I PUT HER THROUGH PAIN' BUT I NEVER SAID I NEED TO KNOW
I DO KNOW' SHES ALL I KNOW ' BABY GIRL
WE DON'T NEED TO GROW APART' BUT JUST GROW
TOGETHER' BUT IT'S SHRINKING' MY WORLD
SHE USED TO TELL ME SHE DIDN'T WANT TO START ALL OVER AGAIN
KEEPING ME UP' BUT THEN BREAKING ME DOWN
I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S REAL ANYMORE
IT'S A BIG CITY' AND I'M STUCK IN THIS LITTLE TOWN
I GAVE HER A GIFT AND SHE BARELY LOOKED AT IT
LEFT MY HEART IN MY CAR DOOR
AT THE TIME IT WAS SUPPOSED TO SATISFY HER LOVE FOR ME' I ADMIT
YOU CAN'T BUY THIS LOVE AT ANY KIND OF STORE
I WISH I WASN'T CURSED WITH BLINDNESS
SHE STOOD WITH ME WHEN I HURT HER MOST
I SWEAR IF I COULD I'D TAKE IT ALL BACK* I'M NOT LYING ABOUT THIS
I'D CHERISH HER SO MUCH' I MISS HER' AND NOT JUST A SCOTCH'
YOU LOVE SOMEONE' YOU LET THEM GO
BUT WHAT IF THEY DON'T COME BACK'
I THOUGHT WE HAD NOTHING TO THINK ABOUT AND NOW I KNOW
ONE SIDED LOVE' SMACK
SHE KNOWS HOW I FEEL' BUT SHE'S BLINDED AS WELL
THIS IS WHAT TEMPTATION DOES TO YOU
I'M NOW PAYING FOR MY SINS AND I'M IN HELL
MY ANGEL HAS TO SAVE ME' IT IT'S TRUE
IT HAS TO BE REAL' NOTHING ABOUT US WAS FAKE
I'M HERE WAITING TO HEAR HER VOICE
JUST WAIT' SHE'LL BE BACK' WAIT
I REALLY HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE
TOTALLY OUT OF CONTROL' NO CONTROL
MY HEART TORN
SOMEONE GET ME OUT OF THIS 6 FOOT HOLE
IT FEELS LIKE I'M DEAD' BUT WOULD SHE BE THERE TO MOURN
SELFISH ON BOTH SIDES
IT'S ALL IN HER HANDS NOW
I PRAY SHE REALLY DOES LOVE ME
SHE'LL BE BACK SOMEDAY' SOMEHOW
HOWEVER LONG IT TAKES' I'LL BE HERE UNTAINTED
FIND YOURSELF' BABY GIRL' PLEASE
NO NEED TO ANY FURTHER EXPLAIN IT
DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO' GIRL' JUST DON'T TEASE
IT'S JUST SO HARD AND I'M SO IMPATIENT
YOU KNOW ME BEST
THAT'S WHY IT'S SO HARD' I ENTRUSTED YOU WITH EVERYTHING
NOW PUTTING YOUR LOVE TO THE TEST
THE NEWFOUND RING TURNED AROUND
I JUMP OUT OF BED OUT OF MY HOLE
I HEAR THE VIBRATION' THAT FAMILIAR SOUND
I START TALKING' THE GIRL ON THE OTHER LINE' BEAUTIFUL
Photo bg Jim Linden
Lately \ It seems Vve been possessed
Jvlth a sudden uncontrollable need
To gather •KAfKNINGi OANG&k plastic strips
Trout un-safe sties oh my sidewalk walking trips.
Oh, We tried to stew the urge
I've lied to purge this urge
'Eut try try as \ may I cannot stay
The urge to steal and take away
Theses gaudy strips of many colors
bellows, reds, orange and blues
Stark and glaring or lesser hues.
As J saunter strolling by
Seemingly gazing at the sky
Next to some large excavation
Ribboned by plastic tapes of demarcation.
Suddenly, secretly, l snip a strip
And quickly roll It In a ball
And plunge It In my pockets tall.
homeward, homeward, travel I
"Never glancing toward earth or sky
Straight \ stroll fast and true
hJlth my strips of red and yellow
h)lth my strips of orange and blue.
Safe at home \ unwind each colored tape
And bind it stoutly to a garden stake
Stake to stake these strands of many
\n and out these strands of plenty
Torm a fmt and fertile rope
To protect my tomatters and cantaloupe.
Poor desperate muse
What ails the complexion
Of your deep awakening eye
Your body of stealth
Sitting there by oneself
a parallel dimension
Its prison has been permeated...
Within your thoughts
a place of eternity
Within your desperate grasp
Your stares still within
The visions of night and days true eternal meaning
Sicking, erotic aromas of sexual taste
Ghastly beauties of most pleasing tease
Their enticing appearance
Trapping your innocent mortal soul
Guiding you to your eternal rest
to make you whole...
Corrupted faeries of sicking play
Accidents by day
Disasters by night
It's all for their gain
to feed of your fright
Innocent curiosity and childish wonder
is what bleeds their cold emotionless hearts
The Nightmare's grasp
is what you see before you
Such everlasting tyranny
The whirlpool of redemption
Drowning in its churn
Who will be next...?
In praise and favor to the French Book of Poems "The Flowers of Evil" and
none other than the poem "Sick Muse" by Charles Baudelaire and
translated by francis duke.
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Art by Shelby Taltay
f\ name tbat speaks its true meaning.
Can you see its torture yet beauty/ 7
O^e sun is tbe true love/
? : \ccentuating tbe reds in every strand
like dry tvood feeding tbe flame.
Oje rays long to toucb,
Creeping tbrougb tbe tiniest of openings
tbe trees rvill allon?.
33ut tbere is anotber/
f\ love kept bidden by tbe darkness.
Rer matcFjing eyes steal glances
at tbe pearl in tbe sky.
Sbe rvouldn't dare to look at ber
true love tbat ruay.
*vv>bispers burn ber ears of mistaken identity.
Oje ligbt sborun tbrougb tbe nigbt
peers into ber soul/*
Vet reminds ber of anotber.
tin disbelief, tbe eartly b°'ds ber sigbt.
Q>2 tvind caresses ber softly.
Inlays nntb ber locks as a child n'ould curl F)fe
motber's in bettveen eacb finger.
Or is it tbe ruay a lover tvould toucb ber
ever so gently in tbe strongest of passion^
Do longer trusting, sbe turns to tbe n>ater.
F>e brings ber gifts, secrets, and mystery.
0>2 tbrill appeals to ber.
<3oing to bin% ber flame is extingui&bed
"Cbe bronm lingers as tbe rvater surrounds ber.
Sbe fell for bim,
but nnll tbis love dronm ber.^
tits beauty brings ber torture.
Samantba 3o Mngelo
The Baker's Dozen
A dozen red roses mean 12 different things,
The first says love never ending, fly forever on wings.
The second is for our own ideas, only you can decide,
The third is for the courage to stick by his side.
The fourth is for kindness, which everyone needs,
The fifth for the future, wherever it leads.
The sixth is for the present, living day to day,
The seventh is for faith, never to be led astray.
The eighth is for the past, which resides in us all,
The ninth is for the words unsaid, the writings upon the wall.
The tenth is for romance, the simple words "I Love you."
The eleventh is strength, all the times you have gotten through.
And finally the twelfth, which means forget me not.
But wait, here's another which sticks out from the lot.
This rose is yellow, for our friendship no doubt,
Because friends are just roses which we can't live without.
So a dozen red roses arranged differently with just one,
Oneyellow rose, a friendship, that can't be outdone.
ffiy life is moving to a new chapter
2 often fear what 3 will be leaving behind...
HTy friends, good memories, and laughter
Rever to be seen again as the road of life begins to
Will they Keep in touch?
Or will 2 be quickly forgotten?
Bon't Know why 2 think as such:
Usually pessimistic, rarely optimistic
Why do my thoughts tend to turn rotten?
But 2 shouldn't despair
Cuz that 5 the way of life, 2 just have to prepare
For this impending, drastic change
That will take me from my comfortable range.
Though 311 be leaving behind the old,
2 will also be approaching the new.
So Tve gotta be strong and bold
Knd not let my fears and insecurities turn me blue.
Tve finally graduated,
J'm glad 2 made it.
2 say it's time to catch my dream
Find enjoy life, change ain't as bad as it may seem
Hn my head plays music that 3'm groovin' on,
3t helps me cope even better with movin' on!
CJlajlal £>een\i> trie loay trujigi ale nifant to ue
cfln iluiiioix Ls all It ioo6; tl\eleaJ±gatLoa carae too tote
cU nope. - - ui>eJe55, ieriieieb.s ana jol riaagrit
Wola.s iay oae tniiig ana actio rub anotnel
UjiiioticeCT ol Lgriolea - - .brx oj one - - rialj aogen qj toe otnel
Virltn a miruj thai tioLsts loLthjariCLj mougrit
cMiae Lb coiifiubef) an$ oefa&o l Eeo v
cJXlo maitel aoio nxiia cJ jug tit trie juoio
clilea Lb trie only jiLace cJ go
cRoiuia ana lounr} a uilxri|pooL
cJ ILL rairuj ana ooa\j ale ulotcen La tliLb aLgguLrug existence
cNo ail to bleaine, ao .bleu to iee, oaiy loaneb ana tnlauJerice gleet me
Photo by Lindsay Croppor
S^a^^euin^ Me^e artwe/i /wzdh ■ at&Ax/wi
/w< £&m<e0-/i>e !y c/esi //c/io-a*
S^MvMa e-cw faee /<&&& Atdt/ev wf
D&u!i/?& eu/ oat/ uJ/ea/ha, Me re^M
&cAe-t/ia< <£e-f%ut vac£> /e- me a^ve Me
/'e/y^M 0fas / fi6>-e/??>.
somaimes i wonpeR if i even ww
i tnow uiho i am hot
i am noT cdy sun Tone or tw wgy i tgu
i am hot coy pRess size or mY ace
I Off) DOT (T)Y (PUCOTIOO OR (T)Y OCCUPflTlOn
i om hot mY moTMR or mY fqtmr
so who ami?
I MT) DOT U)hftT YOU ThlOt
i am moRe - - 1 am cess
I Aft) DOT fi (AB£(
l«B€CS 0R€ YOU - - Th€Y PRC OOT OK
i am hot an assumPTion - - cuhaT you Thint i swxhp bc
i sua port tnou) but I'm leaRnwc
Finpinc The me wsipe - - The Real me
Th€ om no one wows
TM me i warn to ww
The me u)hO warns you to see u)hO i am
noT Who im supposep to Be
Up and down, push and pull
Push and pull, up and down
The squeak of the tire against the road
The click of the gear settling into place
Up and down, push and pull
Slide back into the seat
Settle down into a crouch
Push and pull, up and down
Feel the wind pick up against my cheek
The sound as it whistles past my ear
Up and down, push and pull
Muscles of my legs ease in
The burn starts to fade
Push and pull, up and down
Lose myself on the road
As the wind lifts me away
Up and down, push and pull
Push and pull, up and down.
o fool 1 to pur ^rnvz,
W^a. $ere tru$ in our roefoJ}?
^\ feft $e -fl-ocz of 30J $roi<-^ pu,
flow 3 f*wff j M ^ fo4?
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o aw do fop-^er ItateP to $e r>ote\
3ut Jo ^\ ^f Iqm pw roice?
v5^ to $e K-ipJ...
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<Posm c^o ^ coptiotie op mi, oi^P?
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o ra-i^ m^ f>eaj to $e 4>3,
vVi tlWe N3rne$iP^ pt( m4 of we?
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^ wit Jo wtat pw >JoufJ >u4 for we.
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o w-$ ^o, ^ wil coptipue op.
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3 ferxs/a $e^ APffre $e aoiA of a££.
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1% fai$ *>> re^areJ.
^ee pur face opce more,
He tru$ (a, op^ ip &o\ra\ fOefoJj.
Art by Lauren Wrigr
6eotly ft/lag, Irfe an early sprag raffl;
Passion, hurt, and emotion swelling rfl the distance,
IfleVitafr!*) ft worsens re/ent/essfy.
foreMrfg 9nJ Jreao, af>rupt/y etyfcxfffg upon joo,
Me a ton of (>ric((S dropped uponjour head.
Then, conclude to rant, it leaves f>ros<jue/y.
The raflifrow after never seemed so eflticiig,
With only the somewhat detached,
Aloof atmosphere left as a memento.
h\ooMV\as>tr - A CMil&rtv^'s* Votvu,
Mooi/vchaser has, but daz goal,
As he chases fair Mdda both high av^d low.
ever sli/vce he has beei/v a colt he had waited her for h'imself
■So he could put her 1\a ajar ai/vd teeep her da a shelf
Hz had i/^ever realized how he would hurt the sua,
AiAd how darfe It would be should he succzzd 'ua his fui/v.
HiA-tll the i/ught he fli/vally corAZrzd "his" Mooia-,
Hz rzavzd up at her ai/ud whli/vi/vled his tuiA-e.
"Moo^!" becfeo^ed he, "we rueet at last!
"Coi/vie with m,e ia-ow, become a thliA,g of the past!
you arz to shli/ve your light to i/we oiA,ly,
Com.e with rue iaow at/td we shall i/\,ever be lonely!"
MooiAchaser rzavzd up, deteri/vdi/vatloiA, showiA,,
Though It was oiaIw ia,ow that he realized how i/viuch he had growi/u
For he could ia,ow see Mood's eyes, beautiful Indeed,
Avid adwJivzd her so, as she adi/vilred the steed.
A grl^v played across Mood's delicate facz
she spofee softly to the steed, i/Kovli/\,g at his pace.
"MooiAchaser Moom,chaser, ( admire \aou so!
B>ut belong to Diaz bziiA&j? tteaveiAS ao\
I watch as iadu follow i/we, faithfully through the i/ughts,
Ai/vd \adu have feept up well, despite \aduy i/wa^y plights.
( have become attached to ijdu av^d wish iadu well,
B»ut ca a iadu li/viagli/\,e the i/tlghts If I fell?
I belong to the sky with both Swu and star,
Iheu are vw\a brothers, and l will not venture far.
you «re not the only one to adwlre me,
Although won the only oiA,e to try and tatee me, «s far as I caia. see.
you are the first to show such Ideas a ad persistence,
But as for you. taking me, I must show resistance."
hAoonchaser arose at Moon's reply, "But fair Moon, why can't l have yow., why?
Who needs anu other If I have iadu?
And brother sun can keep the s\zij both night and blue.
I have followed \aou. over water and land,
And through deserts with hot scorching sand,
I've risked my freedom, traveling through man's territory,
it Is true; i have a one of a kind life storij.
But I have tow^e all this way and have nothing to show,
For the fact I got to talk to ijdu and relish In ijour glow.
Fair Moon, what will I have If I do not have ijou?
I'll have nothing to live for and nothing to do ] "
uadu Moon listened throughout the Ljounc^ one's, plea,
"But why would \ad\a. want to spend eternity with me?
I am old with no stories of m.y own,
And have no love to give, and even less to loan.
because i belong to everyone, be you man or beast,
I am wise beyond \Aears, decades at least.
But young one, I will not let uour journeij end In vain.
But believe me now; you will no longer be plain!"
just thei/t a star fell from, the sfey,
Aia.oI It telssed MooiA,chaser between his delicate eyes.
Ai/td thei/t a bright Light fell upoiA. the mouiAtaliA,,
Followed by a yellow aiA,d starry fo utA-taliA,.
MooiA,chaser felt iA,othliA,g, but something was uvdc^ue ia,ow.
Although he dldiA/t fe^ow exactly what, why or how.
AiA-d he wouldn't teiA,owjust what It was u^tll her brother Suia, shoiA<e,
~&ecau£,e Mood's light was iA,ot enough to do It aloiA,e.
Moo \a, smiled brightly, her face ia,ow alight,
"Now you. will always reiAA.em.ber me aiA,d this special i/ught.
This Is my gift to \ad\a., tafee care of It, please.
! will always be here for uou, If ijoia. have paliA, to tc\s,e.
B>ut ( must go ia,ow; m.y brother Is coming up over there,
Beware of his light; It's both vivid aiA,d -fair.
You will see my gift Iia, his wondrous light,
AiA,d you will always remember this very iA,lght."
with that said mooia, set below the la^d aiA,d Sww, the^ rose,
what brilliance the yellow Su^ did pose!
Iia, the light MooiA,chaser did see the gift mooia, gave,
(t was something to keep, It was something to save.
It always glimmered brightly Iia, the iA,ew w.orv^iv^Q light,
AiA,d showiA, eveiA, brighter oia, Mood's full lAight.
you see Mooia, gave the spirited ov^e a single silver horiA,,
AtA,d ^o became MootA,chaser the uiaXcona,.
As> h llej a ros lewlcz
Photo by Dr. Karen Schramm
Rise, Phoenix, Rise
Like the Phoenix
Rising from the ashes
Being reborn anew
Wiser from the battles lost
Ready to face life's struggles again
She was a broken creature
A shadow of her former self
Now she is reborn anew
Stronger from rebirth
Ready to challenge the world again
Her song was once silenced
The world was darker without her voice
Now reborn from the ashes
She rises from the fires
Singing her song for all to sing
History in the Mistaking
Times long gone
Times long stayed
Regrets and mistakes
None shall ever say
Tell we might
A tall tale
To keep yet its true secret
But stay nonetheless a truthful lie
Though yet there is some light
A shinning white
No color could ever illustrate
Memories and victories
But to its limits
Suffering comes before happiness
You are of one
A speck amongst the "great tapestry"
The insolent ant amongst the "great all seeing eye"
One among many
It takes one to be one
By Asia Williams
AND FIRE ROAR
LET IT SOAR
WILD AND FREE
LET IT SEE
TO THE SICKNESS THAT AILS THEE
BARE TO ALL THAT HAS STRIPPED
THEE OF HOPE
BARE TO ALL IN REPLACE TO START A NEW
OPEN UP THE POWER INSIDE YOU...
tyes a beautiful brown, words spoken
but I hear not a sound, I'm too lost
in a world ofJCings and Queens, her
hair in a beautiful crown, calm
when she's here but lost when she's
not around, bringing a smile to my
face even when Fin feeling down. But
seriously I believe she could be an
Jlngel, on Earth to save my life,
amazing how she makes me feel,
maybe she could be my wife, I even
thought twice, now, tell me how,
despite, in a world frill of grains of
rice, this girl could be the one that
treats me right, in my mind I
couldn't find a reasoning for
existence, I asked myself whose and
what kind of life is this, just then I
saw her light glisten past my door.
breath-taking bliss my heart fill to
the floor, I took a chance on the girl
thai caught my eye. and to tin
heavens my. /Inge I and I will fly.
Photo by Daniollc/Friedrich
Mrs. Ruth Moran - Kindergarten Teacher
~ Truth in Legends ~
Over - beyond what man has seen
Where time passes slowly in dreams
There stood a castle - surrounded by woods
Where an enchantress' mystical powers stood
Day by day - beginning with morning light
She spread her wonderful wings in flight
Her song of course could only be heard
By trees and others - who grew where they stood
Butterflies would follow - like tails of a kite
While trees grew strong and tall with her might
No matter which plant came to be
She loved with a love none of us could see
And so the woods grew through ages behind
Legends of man were told of treasures to find
But none dared to enter her dominion and look
So these rhymes just collected in books
Yet one would come - with glittering eyes
Who always seemed followed by fireflies
She too could make anything grow
And into the woods she always had urges to go
And the day would come when resistance failed
Beyond the trees to the enchantress she hailed
The castle gates gleamed with silver and gold
While the castle walls were of crystal I'm told
The enchantress knew just what this meant
For she was once a girl - before many years spent
And greeting her with mystic, flickering eyes
The enchantress passed her magic to where it now lies
This girl took in all the powers that passed
From elder to youth all legends were stashed
For it was now this young girl's turn
To rule the forests with the spells she learned
As for the enchantress, do not fear
She lived on within the castle, my dear
For even though she passed all she knew
Her love for the forest forever grew
The forest shall never forget and neither will she
For truth and legends are quite deeper than the sea...
NOTHING TO WRITE...
tonight not one now thought not
one new word not one new pearl
of wisdom comes to mind. I'm
up because of the heat I can't
sleep because the heat won't lot
mo sloop, the house is all closed
in because of the air conditioning.
I can't fall back to sleep so I'll
write something. I'll write anything
'cause who the hell is going to
road it anyway: everyone has his or
her own problem I'm sure they needn't
be concerned with a sleepless old man
that's just too hot to fall asleep
with his poop poop poop about no sleep.
fio I'll try this time to go to bed and
dream good dreams about the lord and me
to see if that can't put mo to sleep
for sure so I could snore and snore
and finally fall fast yos fast asleep in
my bed like lead, like I'm dead.
High School Writing
The English Department
is very happy to have sponsored its second
high school writing competition,
which was designed to showcase the work
of young writers in the area.
A Chnstiuas Carol
7 o'clock, dark and m$
asleep ot\ the side of the street
eyes Irt up by the headlgftts
lit up and empty and asleep and
no o\\t will move ft off the asphalt
it will rot on the road, and little children
peeking frees oat backseat windows
will shudder <fuietly
draw back into warmth and safety
(»ut tfiey won't let on,
won't #ve a hint as to what scared them
because it's cold outside
it's the end of decemf>er
and halfyaj) through the weak
spin-d^nft week between Christmas and klew-Year's
and noth^ bad can happen
and the deer is just asleep
just resting in the dirt
le$s tveki under, reaching and
eyes sU\ starry mto the head'amp-^low that hummed and homed and hypnotized
heann$ the horn
and then the doll thud,
and a d>i$ deer falling to its knees
but the trock fro% on, radio Mann^
it's the most wonderful time of the jear.
The fleor^e School
tn^lfsh Teacher : Mr. Terry mhtot]
ALEXANDER HAMILTON RUNS
THE VOODOO DOWN
In the seventh month
Of eighteen hundred and four
The eleventh day
The place: Weehawken
That ancient, mystical land
State of Mew Jersey
A man with a beef
The one they call Aaron Burr
He steps on the scene
"And now," said Aaron
"Time to settle this, big boy
Settle it with guns."
VP Burr waited
Mo response was forthcoming
Just a sullen stare
"You hearing me, boy?"
The Vice President goads on
"Are you listening?"
"1 know it was you
Cost me that governorship
And you'll pay for that
I thought I told you
That gun control means using
Both hands in my land."
Again he awaits
But only stony silence
While two snake eyes glare
Burr done had enough
"We're finishing this, Ham-Man
Your number is up
Mo more tariffs or
Strong federal government
Or excise taxes
Who thinks a national bank
Is a good idea?
You're really a dick
And a Federalist prick-
It just makes me sick."
Having thus spoken
Burr done raised his revolver
He fired a shot
Cold pellet of death
Strikes with precision
And bounces off harmlessly
Bullet falls to ground
Glistening wings unfold
Reveals his true form
Great steel legs like a spider
Photon cannons, too
Rising to full height
By which I mean freaking tall
Really freaking tall
Burr falls to his knees
Before the dreadful visage
Weeps at the horror
Casts one last gaze of contempt
Thus he disappeared
And no one on Earth knows
When he will return
West Chester East High School
Teacher: Mrs. Jenkins
Speedometer creeps up to
Eges watBring ands tinging,
TakB gour hands off the wheel
The car swbivbs nnto the wrung side
Of the bright yellow lines
For a split second
Close your eyes and,
Careen iny into the black uncertainty
Of the unknown,
Take the corner on two wheels
Whiz by danyerously cluso tu the
Itelephune pule I
Motor snarling beneath gou,
Laughing intu the black face under the tires
You can hear the wind
Screaming past gour left cheek
But all guu can see
Are the ins ides of gour egelids
Oaring gou to lift them,
To save gourself
And for just a mument
Danger can't tuuch gou,
Wissahickon High School
English teacher: Mrs. Smith
that old stretch op a dirt road.
surrounded by solid plains and existing
under a uuistrul blue sky-
1 could recognize it anyuuhere.
our trip, a break prom umpomnity op everyday
lire, planned precisely.
right doujn to every road
and every turn uue shoulanave made.
but something happened, he broke auuay
prom his lire- or maybe he slipped into it-
and uje pound ourselves on that
unknouun parm road, as out op place in our lives
as uue uuere on its path.
and then our car broke douun. piercing
Dht into shadouus op old routines, our perpection
uuas never meant por that stretch
op lipe. and even though uje broke.
it uuas breaking together that made
all the dipperence.
the air uuas still, uuhispenng no secrets nor help
in our ears
that time, it ujas just the tuuo
op us. alone, uuith nothing
to stand in betuueen. and so
he started talking, he had to.
the air uuould have suuallouued
us in emptiness otheruuise. he talked
por all the years uue hadn't,
and somehouu it uuas porgiveness. too.
no one came to help us that day
uue uuere broken, but that uuas
exactly uuhat uue needed, uue managed
to px our car. ourselves: not quite
so perpecL close enough.
that old stretch op a dirt road-
it changed the air betuueen us.
hunterdon central regional high school
english teacher: ms. malzone
Happy. Happy at last. With a euphoric sense of falling, I ride the thunderstorm's
ominous ebony clouds to my destination: England. I get off deep in the heart of London, where I
hob-knob with Marley and a rather rowdy crowd of poltergeists. I sip tea in a deserted warehouse,
dressed in spider-webs and moonlight, and stalk through mounds of splintered crates and moldy
packing chips stinking of mildew. I meander about the ancient standing stones of pagan rituals
where unspeakable acts to nameless, obscene gods were performed long ago. So long ago...
I ride an outgoing snowstorm to America. The blizzard strikes as scheduled, over
the state of Maine. Over the sound of coastal waves braking on rocky crags, the teeth of the shore, I
hear the lonely howling sound of a lost wolf cub, dying in the blizzard. Quickly, I race over to it and
wait for its blood to freeze and for it to die. It does, within a matter of hours (a quick amount of
time, in which I counted all the beautifully crystalline snowflakes as they fell) and it follows me on
my journey. We catch a Northeasterner to Washington, D.C., where I stop at the Library of
Congress, after saying hello to my old friend Abraham Lincoln. The books each have their own
unique and ethereal aura which I can taste and touch and feel: the slimy calamari taste of Lovecraft,
the sea-salty tuna of Hemingway, the exotic Stardust spice of Bradbury, the bitter vinegar of Poe, and
the plum-pudding of Dickens. I feel the dagger in Romeo's heart; a cascade of pixie dust from
Tinkerbelle's wand; and the chaotic forces of wild magic coursing through me while I recite ancient
runes from worm-eaten grimoires detailing all of the universe's forbidden secrets. I smell the sulfur
of Dante's Hell, the aroma of fresh cinnamon rolls coming from Calpurnia's kitchen, and the oily
stench of Mieville's magical steamtechnology being repaired, all overlapping an unimaginable stink
of age, dust, and yellowed pages. It reminds of a place I used to know...
We walk along abandoned game trails, the paths of the deer, and under the deep
waters of many streams. I watch as fish and sometimes murky amphibious lake monsters avoid us,
unnerved by our presence. The wolf pup bounds along at my side, untiring but still trying in vain to
eat and drink, chasing game it can never catch.
It still remembers what it was in life, unlike me.
Under the night sky, I listen to the music of the spheres, accompanied by a platoon of crick-
ets and a single, solitary owl. It is beautiful, but it doesn't help my condition. Not anymore.
I have forgotten. I have forgotten my name, my past, my home, and I in turn have been for-
I am now both more and less than human. I converse with the October People,
and my social circles involve eldritch ghouls who weave horrendous tales in their
decrepit tomb-cities as they eat the dead of civilizations long since buried by the sands of time and
crumbling, wizened mummies who cavort with Anubis and other, darker deities in their hoary pyra-
mids of far-off Egypt. I have heard Poseidon's trident clash with the gibbering, formless horrors that
swim in the sea's trenches, and the moans of damned
souls wandering the Earth for all eternity. I am all-knowing, and information flows through me like
gore through an open wound. I see the diffuse wonders of God's creation: the deepest oceans, filled
with the ruins of lost continents pre-human and ill-shaped glowing fish; the underground caverns of
the Earth, where through strange alchemy coal changes to crystal, and foul abominations beyond
human conception churn and creep; the highest layers of atmosphere, where transcended beings
dwell like powerful emperors; and the starry vacuum of glittering stars and glowing, diffuse nebulae.
I climb into the dreams of poets and the nightmares of madmen, viewing Morpheus' murky and
empyreal land in all its malleable glory, a world of noble knights and futuristic sky-cities, hideous
gargoyles and scenes of fear that defy even my
description. I hear the wing beats of angels, the whispering conversations of the Faerie, and the
mad, cackling laughter of infernal demons. But I feel nothing for I cannot care...
I am a specter. A whirl of the imagination, a spot of frigid air, a gloomy shape lurking in
attics and garages, that is me. In my undeath, I have the power to reduce myself to the smallest
atomic particle and float around a nucleus, as well as the power to explore the bizarre planetoids of
the Kuiper Belt, where silicon-based extraterrestrials dream electric dreams, but I have not the
power to remember who I was. Did I even have a name? Who was I?
I was. ..I was...
I Am Ghost.
Council Rock North
English teacher: Ms. Andrea Lamberth
"Don't you wish you could just catch them and keep them in a jar?" She said,
gazing up at the summer sky.
"How do you propose we light the sky, then?" Laughing slightly, his hand crept
across the soft grass and rested on top of hers. The hill was green and wet with dew,
glistening in the light of the moon and the brilliant stars of July. The two stargazers
drank in the celestial scene, stars twinkling a myriad of colors like faceted crystals in the
sun. The moon was almost full, shining an ethereal light upon the two, giving everything
on a grassy hill a hue of blue and silver. Every so often, a shooting star would streak
through the cerulean blanket of sky, a bittersweet reminder of the evanescence of beauty.
A warm breeze quietly rustled the leaves of the tree above them.
She lifted her hand, absently tracing the murky white line of the Milky Way
across the sky. "It makes you feel kind of small, doesn't it?" She whispered.
"I guess it does. Just ...to know that there's so much out there." He looked up at
the infinite expanse of deep azure, his eyes moving from one star of the Big Dipper to the
next. Here, on this perfect night, he felt he could actually see the image painted into the
heavens. His gaze moved from the patchwork of stars and finally fell upon her face. Her
deep blue eyes drew him in, until it seemed as though he could drown in them. The
reflection of the sky glistened in her irises, sparkling like the heavens themselves. He
was almost sure he could make out the Milky Way, and the Big Dipper, and the moon,
and hundreds of other celestial marvels in those eyes. He found himself lost in the starry
orbs, not sure if he could ever withdraw himself from her gaze.
"They're so beautiful," she breathed, still immersed by the dancing lights in the
"Yes," he said without shifting his focus, "they are."
Council Rock High School North
Teacher: Ms. Andrea Lamberth
The Great Escape:
The Grand Episode of Julia Huang & Huckleberry Finn
I connected the dots on the parabolic curve, sloping gently towards infinity at the top of the
paper, Finished with algebra homework, I stood up and stretched while casting a glance
around my room: a half-packed suitcase for this weekend's Key Club board meeting, a can-
vas propped against the wall, scattered pastels on the floor.,, Then, outside my window, a
tiny square of light painted against the dark night caught my eye. With a sudden, sponta-
neous flight of the imagination, I grabbed my jacket, tiptoed down the stairs, and slipped out
into the airy night.
The grass was slick and wet under my bare feet as I crossed the yard towards the cabin from
which the light was shining. The familiar silhouette of a small boy appeared on the other
side. He moved briskly as he tore a hole in the sack he was carrying and fine cornmeal sift-
ed out into a trail. He disappeared with it towards the creek behind his cabin, and came
back leading a canoe by rope, I made a move to call out to him, but stopped myself. Since
school started, we didn't talk much anymore.
Last year, Huck and I became unlikely companions. Initially, I only watched him from a
distance with fascination and slight amusement at the carefree mischief he caused in the
streets. In time, a friendship grew in the thin space where the circles of our two universes
merged in a Venn diagram, In his simplicity, he viewed my world with easygoing candor;
untainted by society's conventional wisdoms about race, money, and friendships, his almost
naive, yet insightful perceptions transcended learned prejudices. It was in moments I felt
spread too thin, pulled in too many directions that I sought his companionship most. On
those nights, I'd climb out my window and we would lie on the grass in the neighbor's
orchard. Under the soft streaks of moonshine behind wisps of gray clouds, I'd take a good
look at him, Huckleberry Finn, with half of his young face hidden in shadow, I didn't envy
him or his life, yet I never tired of hearing his suspicions that there weren't really any
Spaniards and the "A-rabs" were only a Sunday school picnic, Most nights, though, he'd
just listen to me think out loud, I'd talked about a new book I found, complain about my
family, or wonder where I would be in a few years, And despite the irony of the topics I
chose, Huck never objected. Once in a while, he'd take a bite of a stolen apple, chew
thoughtfully and reply, "Well, Jules, I reckon' you jes' think too much,"
I was shaken from my thoughts by the sudden movements ahead. With a jolt, I saw Pap's
skiff coming down the river, Fluck lost no time and pushed his canoe off the muddy bank,
sending soft ripples through the water. I held my breath as I watched him drift downstream.
Silently, I wished him grand adventures, Breathing in all things authentic, I turned around
and as quietly as I could, ran through the adjacent yard back home: chemistry awaited.
Council Rock North
Ms, Andrea Lamberth
The Hospital Volunteer
For three hours a week (really two hours and 45 minutes),
I sit in the cramped Patient Transport office:
Walls without windows
Painted a sickly yellow color.
A row of oxygen canisters
In neat, shiny lines.
And a large picture of roses in a vase, with "Volunteers Add That Special Touch" written beneath.
Irritated nurses summon me to some corner of the building through the little black pager,
Which emits an unearthly rattling and
Startles only me every time.
When I reach for the hand sanitizer it squirts antibacterial foam all over me.
The scent of the hospital sticks to me long after I leave my shift.
It smells of a variety of chemicals-
That mysterious liquid inside a syringe,
Disinfectant covering up all sorts of unpleasant somethings.
Of scrubs garishly patterned with flowers and swirls,
Grumpy technicians returning from smoking breaks,
And, of course,
I catch whiffs of sorrow, of death,
Which I'm sure circulates through the air vents.
My patient is heaved unceremoniously upon the immaculate white sheets of the stretcher.
They are always the same sick soul, reincarnated in a new form every week.
Always, they lie there surrounded by bags of fluid and a tangle of tubes,
Oxygen up the nose, making gasping noises like enormous fish.
As I roll them down the hallways, I want to ask them,
"Do you wonder about who lay on this stretcher before you?
Who was being pushed in pain here yesterday?
Someone with a hip replacement? Kidney stones? Gout?"
Doesn't matter, now you all have something in common.
I am steering so clumsily, coming close to walls and food carts,
That I am almost glad the patient is incapable of noticing.
I take my transport to the CAT-Scan, the X-Ray, the Ultrasound,
Whatever piece of complicated machinery it happens to be this time.
Good little UPS Man of the medical world.
As I leave to go sit in the tiny office again,
I wonder if a fundamental difference between people
Is whether they see the hospital as a heaven or hell,
Or if it is actually a limbo
Where someone may inadvertently make the decision:
You live. You die. You will be back again,
Oh yes, you will be back again.
Upon Fly Canvas
(In tJie style of clurara Morales)
I am an artist
8 restless adolescent voiced m delicate brushstrokes,
9 child of depiction, forever devoted to the devotion o) my masters.
I am Uan Gogh, a visionary lost m drunken dreams,
3 hundred dormant nouses under blazing stars and a crescent moon,
Heqlected sunflowers, gasping |or air through withered leaves.
I 3m the distant cry of ominous winds, howling with the agony of defeat.
The skies are alive tonight.
I am lionet the poet of impressionism,
The silent serenity of a bridged stream,
Gardens of lily pads and blossoms,
Flourishing in the smudges of romantic pastels.
I am the youthful image of a woman, pausing in the wheat fields.
The gentle wind ruffles my skirt and tempts my parasoL
Hoping to lure it into the breeze.
I am Frida, the warrior of oil pastels.
Flu own bleeding heart pounds against my palm.
The colors hide my eyes of anger
Floroid themes tend my open wounds of grief
i am a collection of self-portraits; each of my faces stares back in contempt.
The sinister winds howl behind my sullen eyes.
The paint is my gun and the hues my bullets.
1 3m Uarhof enthusiast of the iconic world.
1 3m Marilyn Honroe, Hao 3edong, and a Campbell 5 Soup can.
Fly inverted colors paint faces of stars,
Begging for something different begging for a change.
The desperate wind rushes through blue ears and green hair,
Uishing for the illustration of a movement.
I am an artist. I will go where the wind takes me.
For now, the canvas is blank.
Council Rock Florth High School
English teacher: lis. Qndrea Lamberth
Vwzgax and 5alt
Nothing iasfcs txz+t<zr than
fisW n' ckips
in this 5co"H"isn town
Bought for 3 pounds at the nearby chip skip
where 1 ima_gine all the locals jjo
where the chap behind the counter calls me "love"
and asks whether I'd like "vinegar and salt with that?"
where I fall briefly in love with the bloke doing the frying
who 1 can Just see in the back, his sideburns and sure hands,
the _grease stains smeared on his white T-shirt suggestively
where "take out" is called "take away" and
the wooden fork is free but the ketchup packets are 30 pence each
Nothing tastes better than
fish n' chips
in this 5cottish town
After a long training run through narrow streets
past gardens and bowling _greens and dogs barking with 5cottish accents
sweat drenching, legs aching, ears ringing, rain pouring, sky draining, darkness
When 1 collapse on my bed in our BsB,
drunk with tiredness and in love with everything,
I taste sweat and summer while chewing
and also an imagined flavor that makes me blush as I swallow
the frying bloke's hot jreasy mouth pressed against mine
And then the complicated taste that 1 am ravenous for:
1 am devouring 5cotland
I will never be full
Abington Friends 5chool
English teacher: Ms. Mary Lynn £llis
Winter is a crying woman
Locked in a little white room.
Her screams shiver the trees,
And when she whispers to herself,
Throughout the lonely nights,
Snow outside my window flurries down
Like snatches of overheard conversation.
Sometimes she grows afraid.
Paralyzed by fear, she shrinks away
From the terrors lying hidden
in the white walls that imprison her.
Or she will rage for days on end,
Beat her fists and rake fingernails along the floor.
But she will eventually calm,
And only silent slush remains as evidence.
One day, she reaches for the door
And finds that it was open all along.
Like a vapory exhalation on a chilly morning.
She slips away.
Winter is a crazy woman,
A ghost who comes again each year.
^he (: ^kaner
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